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Looking in the rearview mirror


October 26, 2016

Hope you enjoyed Indian Summer. It officially ended over the weekend; the cold wind and rain cleared out most of the leaves from the trees.

The change of seasons is a beautiful thing here in the Upper Delaware Valley. City friends asked on Facebook if they had missed the peak season of the fall foliage extravaganza. Naturally, we know they had, but being the eternal optimist that I am, I told them “No, it will be back again next year. Mother Nature always provides.” Many replied with a variety of the term “smart aleck” or worse. Guess I had that coming.

Like many of my fellow commuters who rise well before the crack of dawn, these next six months we will be traveling in the dark in the morning. I am a creature of habit and this helps in these dark mornings. The last thing I do before leaving the house is drape the lanyard holding my train pass over my neck. I am now ready for my next stop—back to sleep on the train with my pass out, so the conductor can leave me in peace as he makes his rounds.

Most morning trips are uneventful with the exception of the odd creature crossing the road. I take the same route down to the train each day and must admit that, with no one on the road at 4:45 a.m., I rarely signal while making turns. While making my second turn one morning, ready to ascend a steep hill, my rearview mirror is lit up with flashing lights. I say to myself, “Where did they come from?” Halfway up the hill he sounded his siren just once and I pulled over. My first thought is, “I am going to miss my train.”

Window down, hands at ten and two, drivers license out, his flashlight blinding me, I say “Good morning, Officer,” and hand him my license. Looking at my document, his first words to me are, “Where are you going?” I can see him now; he is a freckled face New York State Trooper who looks barely out of high school.

My head is spinning now with answers to his question, most of which I am sure he would not appreciate, but which would make me happy considering his early morning disruption to my routine. I hold up my train pass for him to see and answer, “Going to catch the train to work, Officer.” He hands me back my document and says, “You know you failed to signal at that turn?” I can’t stop myself this time and foolishly answer, “Signal to whom? There is no one on the road.” His light is back in my eyes now and he says, “Well, I was.” And there he has me.